Was Cary Grant gay? Exploring the many myths and rumours about the Hollywood star

Irene Dunne, Cary Grant and Randolph Scott

English-American actor Cary Grant was one of Hollywood’s greats, but was he also bisexual – or even gay?

With a mid-Atlantic accent and bright stardom, Grant is categorically one of Hollywood’s more memorable leading men.

What’s more, some believe that Grant was not only one of Hollywood’s classic leading men, but also a bisexual man.

Hollywood is renowned for its LGBTQ+ history that lives in subtext if you look closely enough, so what evidence is there that Grant was queer? Let’s find out.

Who is Cary Grant?

Renowned for his handsomely debonair aura, Grant was a movie star with a vast filmography.

Starring in over 70 titles, among Grant’s most well-known are The Awful Truth, Bringing Up Baby, His Girl Friday, and The Philadelphia Story.

You may like to watch

Though Grant was revered in the industry, he never won an Oscar despite being nominated for the Academy Award Best Actor category twice (in 1942, then 1945).

Cary retired in retired from acting in 1966 and passed away in 1986, aged 82.

Cary Grant and Randolph Scott
Cary Grant and Randolph Scott at their shared beach house. (John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

Was Cary Grant gay?

Though he never publicly spoke about his sexuality, it’s rumoured that Grant, who married five different women, may have also had romantic relationships with men.

Actor Randolph Scott and costume designer Orry-Kelly were two men who Grant was connected to. 

The former was also Grant’s roommate for several years (they were roommates?!). As up-and-coming stars at Paramount Studios, Grant and Scott shared a beach house during the 1930s. They lived together, on and off, for 12 years.

The pair starred together in Hot Saturday in 1932 and My Favorite Wife in 1940.

Grant and Scott were featured in many Hollywood magazines at the time, participating in domestic photoshoots where they were pictured draped around their shared living quarters. 

Such images do make the pair seem like a jolly gay couple basking in domestic bliss. However, these magazines were simultaneously portraying Grant and Scott as Hollywood’s most eligible bachelors.

Many have interpreted that Grant and Scott’s friendship went deeper than platonic and that their shared home points to a relationship.

Cary Grant and Randolph Scott
Actors and Housemates Cary Grant and Randolph Scott (John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

Grant’s fourth ex-wife, actress Dyan Cannon has openly commented on Grant’s sexuality.

Cannon told uInterview that she never saw an “indication” that Grant may be attracted to men.

“Once, on a ship liner on the way to England, I saw him be very cozy, flirty with the captain. But other than that, I never saw anything,” Cannon added. 

In Scott Eyman’s biography Cary Grant: A Brilliant Disguise, Grant’s friend Bill Royce recalls a moment where Grant implied “he had been basically gay as a young man, later bisexual, still later straight.”

“Grant explained sexuality in terms of performance, of acting,” Eyman writes.

“He told Royce that to not completely explore one’s sexuality would be like an actor playing only one character for life.”

However, Grant’s daughter, Jennifer, has also publicly denied that Grant was queer.

“Had he been homosexual, I absolutely would’ve stood up for it. He had gay friends and there’s just absolutely nothing to be ashamed of there,” Jennifer has said.

“But I had to speak the truth, which was I saw a very straight male who watched women, was married to women, had me. 

Cary Grant and Randolph Scott
Cary Grant and Randolph Scott posing for a Hollywood magazine (Getty Images)

Who did Cary Grant have relationships with?

In his life, Grant married five times. 

His first wife was actress Virginia Cherrill, whom he married in 1934.

He then married  Barbara Hutton, one of the wealthiest women in the world at the time, in 1942.

Then came his third wife, Betsy Drake, who co-starred beside Grant in two films. They married in 1949 and it was his longest marriage. 

In 1965, Grant married another actress Dyan Cannon with whom Grant had his only child, Jennifer. 

Grant’s last marriage was to Barbara Harris who was 47 years his junior.

So, was Cary Grant gay, or bisexual? Realistically, we will never know for sure. But what we will always know is that he was a consummate and talented actor, and that both gay and straight people alike are united in their admiration for his impressive on-screen abilities.

Please login or register to comment on this story.